Pleiospilos nelii is a succulent perennial which can reach a height of up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) and a diameter of up to 4 inches (10 cm). This stemless plant has two or four opposite, almost hemispherical grey-green or brownish leaves. The leaves have a deep fissure in the middle and many small dark spots on the surface. A new pair of leaves is produced each year. The daisy-like flowers are yellow-orange, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) across, and emerge from the center of the leaves. The flowers are large in relation to the size of the plant. They bloom in the afternoon and close at sunset. The flowering period extends from early spring to August.
The basics of Mesemb care are very simple, with free-draining soil, plenty of sun and ventilation, and regular light watering in the right season. Yet the difficulties are endless, trying to adapt to the mesembs’ own adaptability and to follow their growth habits in your particular conditions. Mesembs require a loam-based compost with the addition of extra drainage material such as horticultural grit or perlite. They all like good light conditions and plenty of ventilation. Some are relatively cold-hardy and can even survive mild winters outside. Most will survive temperatures down to freezing point. There are some Mesembs which begin to grow in the autumn as the temperature drops and the days get shorter.
Because different genera within the Mesemb family have different growing conditions, care mast be taken with watering. Some genera will benefit from a light spray water to prevent shrivelling during their dormant period